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Biographers of French playwright Moliere, who brilliantly and hilariously exposed the hypocrisy and pompousness of 17th Century French society, agree that after his imprisonment for debt, he mysteriously disappeared for two years. Director Laurent Tirard playfully suggests that his experiences in this period provided the inspiration for his works. The result is a French Shakespeare In Love, with strong echoes of many of his plays. Moliere (Romain Duris), who finds himself jailed because of his acting troup’s unpaid debts, is delivered from prison by a wealthy merchant (Fabrice Luchini) in order assist in his wooing of a beautiful countess. Taking on the persona of a priest called Tartuffe, he is drawn to the beauty and grace of the merchant’s wife (Laura Morante). What follows are are brace of misadventures that should be familiar to many. But whether you are a Moliere-love or not, this touching comedy will please.

 

(Craig Coventry)